Posted by: mesabimisadventures | December 4, 2011

Giving Up the Dream

We live in a small home, barely more than 1000 square feet, and one of our greatest challenges to maintaining an orderly home is our lack of big closets, a basement or a garage.  We spend our money on stuff and then even if we never use it, wear it or gaze upon it, we still struggle to get rid of it.

What an awful problem we (and many others) have – too much clutter.  People will hire professional organizers, religiously watch shows on HGTV that teach them how to declutter, purchase shelf after shelf to find a home for all of their stuff.  Seriously?!

Matt decided it was time to do a little decluttering here.  We didn’t expect it to be an hour or two of entertainment, but alas, it was.  And not just for the “Fat Guy in a Little Coat” moments (although there were a few when Matt attempted to try on dress shirts that were apparently purchased for someone at least 4 inches shorter and a few pounds thinner and yes, I asked permission before writing that!).  It was also helpful (after I stopped grumbling) to have him point out that certain, very pretty shirts of mine had never been worn even once.  “Give up the dream Julie.  You haven’t worn that yet, you never will.  And it’s not even “you” to start with so give it up and make room for another t-shirt.”


He was right.  We both had a lot that we had never even worn and would never wear in the future, even if I lose that last 10 pounds.  It’s not easy to go through your home and be honest with yourself, but it’s good to do.  Ideally it will teach you a few questions to ask yourself the next time you’re standing in Target at an endcap where something you didn’t even know existed before you entered the store is 20% off and you really think you need it.

So we did a purging and Goodwill in Virginia has 3 stuffed garbage bags packed with clothes.  It felt great to get rid of clothes that we really would never wear and that will be appreciated by people.  Plus it’s nice to have some additional closet space!

Many folks are used to donating gently used goods to Goodwill, but does everyone know what they do with the money they earn through sales of clothes or other objects that were just taking up space in your home?

In their own words, “the sales of your donations help fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs for people who have disabilities, lack education or job experience, or face employment challenges.”  84% of their revenue is used to fund their employment and training programs, which is definitely a positive for them as an organization.  In addition to helping out folks through donations, you are also helping out the environment by carrying out the 3rd “R” in “Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose.”

Please do check that your donated good meets their criteria though.  When I worked at my previous job that was located next door to a Goodwill, it drove me nuts to see how much stuff has to get thrown away by them everyday because people brought things in that were unsellable for various reasons.  Donating to Goodwill shouldn’t be used because you don’t want to pay landfill fees.  Please also remember that folks who are purchasing clothes from Goodwill deserve clothing that isn’t stained or torn or last appropriate in 1976.  It doesn’t help the cause if you’re donating stuff that can’t be worn.  You’re just causing an extra expense for them to get rid of stuff.  If something isn’t Goodwill appropriate, perhaps you should try Freecycle to get it out of your house.  It’s a free service that hooks you up with folks who just might enjoy that end table you picked up in 1992.  You’d be amazed at what some people can repurpose!

“If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich” – Tao Te Ching

Note: This is the fourth post in a series of 31 highlighting donation opportunities this holiday season. 


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